You’ve seen this scenario before, maybe in front of you in the grocery store line. Perhaps it was the young you who was the would-be recipient of a parent’s generosity or kindness. A kid is offered something that isn’t quite what they wanted, and that thing seems totally unacceptable in the moment. A parent then counters that the child may compromise and have said object, or nothing at all. The boy or girl may pout, stomp their feet, or glare angrily back at the parent before acquiescing and accepting their gift of a pack of gum, candy, or whatever it is.
A more adventurous or willful child may double-down on their refusal and say they’ll take “nothing”, perhaps in the hope that the parent will feel guilty and give the kid what they actually want. I remember having played it both ways, and can tell you the smart one is Kid A. Free is free, and gratitude will win over bratitude, all day.
When I was a teenage car shopper in the early ’90s, I had looked at an ’85 or so Plymouth Turismo for sale in the Flint Journal classifieds for $2,000 (the equivalent to just over twice as much, thirty years later). The father was selling it for his teenage daughter, for whom he had just purchased this sporty Chrysler L-body hatchback. She didn’t like it and wanted a Pontiac Fiero instead. This was at a point by which any lingering public adoration for the Fiero had largely cooled off and the car had been out of production for a few years, so it wasn’t like the Fiero was the hot car of the minute. The little Pontiac was still, however, a limited production two-seater with pop-up headlights that would have looked cool while parked in a lot nearest to the Benetton at the Genesee Valley Mall. I wonder how that Fiero worked out for her.
To be clear, a Turismo wouldn’t necessarily have been my first choice of any car at all, but from everything I had read, the 2.2 liter four-cylinder engine was reliable, responsive, and very economical. These little front-drivers had a high utility quotient with their large cargo area beneath the hatchback (32.4 cubic feet with the rear seats down), and I still consider them to be decent-looking cars. For the things I wanted in a ride: looks, efficiency, peppy performance, usability, and the ability to carry more than just one passenger, that nice Turismo would have checked all of those boxes.
The girl’s father told me, sounding almost rueful, that the Plymouth wasn’t sporty enough for her. I could imagine what she looked like, with her permed and teased-out hair, wearing her preppy cardigan from The Limited, and snapping her gum like she couldn’t be bothered with that… thing in the driveway her father had brought home. (Like, what’s a “Plymouth”, anyway?) I passed on the Turismo only because it was slightly out of my price range. Also, I knew I’d be moving to Florida after my senior year of high school, and had hoped to find a car that had never been exposed to road salt. I should also clarify that my disdain for the ’84 Ford Tempo GL I had inherited from regular Dennis family car duty stemmed largely from the fact that it wouldn’t stay running while at a stop, even after untold trips to Autotech Garage.
The seller’s phone number has been redacted as this car was for sale a year and a half ago.
This ’64 Rambler Classic was for sale in my neighborhood in the fall of 2021, parked not more than ten minutes’ walking distance from the Lake Shore campus of nearby Loyola University Chicago. The Ramblers is also the name for the various varsity sports teams at the university. The car was advertised as being owned by the same family from new, and with just under 49,000 original miles on it.
It had been treated with factory undercoating, and had been garaged, covered and winterized. The asking price was $8,000, which sounded entirely reasonable to me, not knowing much about what the market looks like for cars like this. There seemed to be only a little bit of rust that seemed fixable while the car could still be enjoyed on the road. Aside from the generic rear styling (which lacks even backup lamps, which must have been optional), it’s a nice-looking, little car. In terms of style, the new-design ’64 was light-years ahead of the ’63 American with its frowny-face and ancient architecture.
The 330 trim level of this car was midrange for the ’64 American, and while my Encyclopedia of American Cars from the editors of Consumer Guide doesn’t have a breakout for each, individual configuration, over 160,300 Americans were sold that year. Available models ranged from the most basic 220 two-door sedan that started at $1,907, to a 440 convertible that was the most costly in the lineup at $2,346, and of which just over 8,900 were sold. This aqua beauty likely has the 90-horsepower, flathead version of the 195.6 cubic-inch inline six cylinder engine, though an overhead valve version with 125-hp came standard in the 440 series and was optional in the lesser cars. There was also a dual-carb, 138-horse version of the ohv mill that came standard in the 440H hardtop coupe, which was also optional across the range.
Rambler / AMC sales would peak in ’63, with over 464,000 sold. The last year American Motors would break the 400,000 mark would be ’74, a year in which this small car specialist rallied in the wake of the gas crisis and sold almost 431,800 cars. Our featured car is one of about 393,900 ’64 Ramblers that found buyers. Curiously, Rambler’s highest sales ranking was in ’61, when 377,900 units was third only to Chevrolet and Ford, and ahead of Plymouth by over 20,000 cars. Also in ’64 and among the American’s compact competition among the domestics, Plymouth sold 251,000 Valiants (including the Barracuda variant), Chevrolet sold 191,900 Corvairs and another 166,600 Chevy IIs, and the Ford Falcon was the compact sales winner with 300,000 units.
A is for “awesome”.
I looked at this American and immediately envisioned it going to a Loyola student (perhaps originating from Kenosha, Wisconsin) who knows how to wrench and with a taste for the retro. Go Ramblers! Irony never seemed to go away (I thank my fellow Gen-Xers for this), so this car would be a great choice – no less so than the random Plymouth Valiant I’ve seen around these parts. This little car has so many neat, little details – from the script font of its chrome badges, to the stylized “A” that crowns the hood, its finely ribbed grille texture, and those big, round headlamps that seem to have been the appetizer for the ’74 Matador coupe that arrived a decade later. For what it is, which is to say a basic economy car, it looks cool and interesting in today’s landscape.
The thing that gets lost on me when reading about Ramblers, either here at Curbside or elsewhere, is how tragically uncool they were in general when new. I was born in the mid-’70s, and in a GM town, so I don’t remember seeing many, if any, Ramblers at all. This is to say I have little-to-no frame of reference as to how dorky they were when they were common sights on the road. I remember most used AMC cars seeming like a cut below similar offerings from the Big Three, but if I was of an age where I was just starting college far away from the family nest and my parents had offered to buy me a ’74 AMC Hornet, I’m sure I would have said, “Yes, please,” instead of refusing and holding out in the hope of getting something else.
I honestly can’t imagine declining to accept a car my parents had offered to buy me, no matter what it was, unless it had a reputation for danger or unreliability (like the Tempo I got rid of), which might lead to a way-uncool scenario in which I might be seen pushing said automobile to the nearest side street after it stopped on a main thoroughfare. Otherwise, if any car ran and drove safely, efficiently, and/or reliably (or any combination of two of those three), driving it would be better than walking or biking long distances when things needed to be hauled. What would the new-car equivalent of this Rambler American have been when I was in college in the ’90s? An early Hyundai Excel? A Kia Sephia? I’m not disparaging those cars. Rather, I’m simply asking if someone who was aware these Rambler Americans when new will help me understand.
To have made it fifty-seven years into 2021 (at the time of these photographs), this Rambler doesn’t look like it had ever been treated to the kind of abuse and neglect to which college students can subject their cars. What is apparent, though, is by its sheer perseverance (if a car could be said to possess such a quality), this little economy car from American Motors has ended up being much cooler in present day than it probably ever was in its youth. By having done so, it has almost become an object of first-choice. Notice that I said “almost”. I’m convinced that back in the day, I would have have driven it… especially over nothing.
Edgewater Glen, Chicago, Illinois.
Friday, October 8, 2021.
From the front and sides, these bear more than a passing resemblance to their Mopar competitors, the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant. From a distance or passing one on the road, they seem to be almost twins for the competition from Highland Park. Only the taillights offer any distinction between this car and and the Mopar twins. Under the hood, however, the differences are more apparent, as the Rambler limped along with a flathead straight six, while its Mopar competition got the comparatively modern OHV “Slant Six” as a base engine. A high school friend inherited one of these as his first car. Another friend and I assisted with a driveway valve job, which was the only way to do it without pulling the flathead engine from the car!
Even in name the base Dodge was called the 330, the 64 front end without the inboard lights like used on the lightweight max wedge cars looks really like a large American
Now that you mention it, and supported by Matt’s picture of that Dodge, the Mopar resemblance is apparent. I see it, though if I was to see this American in profile or the rear (as you mention), I wouldn’t mistake this for a Chrysler product.
Nice find, with the ohv these are decent drivers. A year later the new ohv would be out for its 30 year plus run.
I imagine that with the ohv, this light cars would have decent scoot.
Great article Joseph. The “whatever car my parents offered me is too UNcool to drive” thing I believe is quite common. I’ve heard it often, but have never understood it. I mean, you’re getting A CAR, kid. Not a new shirt. There’s virtually no car that cannot get you places and do things for you such that you don’t take what you can get and be mighty happy about it. When you’re 16 and the car is a gift.
So I say, but then again, that’s why I’m here and not over on some other site that only talks about cars that I could never in a gazillion years do anything but drool over. Well, to each their own.
You make a very good point about how that Rambler will hopefully sell soon and how it makes an impression in today’s automotive landscape…whereas it was indeed likely completely unnoticed back in its day. I really like its blue, nerdy, simplicity.
Thanks, Jeff. Thinking back to my experience with the family Tempo I had inherited, I have to come clean and state that even if that car had run right by the time I had been given the keys to it, I would have wanted something else, just by association with my parents and other personal factors. I think it might have been different had a parent selected something specially for me.
My brother had searched for my second car behind the scenes (a used ’94 Ford Probe), and even if that car was a college graduation present from my parents, it was different than with the Tempo because there were no memories (bad or otherwise) attached to the Probe. The dad who has bought the Turismo for his daughter at least had lifted a finger. She probably should have gotten the ’83 Celebrity (or whatever) was ready in the driveway that her parents were driving.
I’ve always liked these, probably because Pininfarina. Though I prefer the IKA Torino version, because more Italian in style.
Incidentally, check out the dropped waistline and cf the article on the FIAT 130 Coupe (and particularly the Opera. Also the well-balanced door/window proportions. Definitely feels as if there was some sort of ‘evolution’ at work…
The Torino is (chef’s kiss).
Pininfarina had nothing to do with these. The ’64 American was styled by Dick Teague; it shared its middle body section with the slightly larger ’63 Classic/Ambassador that was styled by Ed Anderson. Pininfarina never actually styled any AMC cars except for the Nash Healey. He had a consulting contract in the early ’50s that resulted in a couple of concepts that then influenced the actual Nashes/Ramblers.
Pininfarina was hired by IKA to change the front and rear ends for the Torino.
Nice find, as always being an AMC guy I have a soft spot for the humble American.
What surprised me about this one is the lack of back up lights. I thought the front & rear bumper was the same part on Americans as a cost saving measure.
These rusted quickly behind the rear wheels, and almost as quickly in the rockers.
I also love my AMCs. I search through my pictures often trying to find non-car-show examples to feature, and let me tell you, it ain’t easy.
I was wondering the same thing; the 1963 Classic/Ambassador do have the exact same bumper front and rear, as do the 1966-69 American (reverse lights were finally required starting in ’66). There is even a provision for a license plate light on the front bumper. It does look like basically the same stamping here, just without the holes punched for the lamps in the rear. Which makes me wonder how reverse lights were installed at the dealership level.
Fun read Mr. Dennis.
“I’m simply asking if someone who was aware these Rambler Americans when new will help me understand.”
I was there then and saw what you are now describing.
Let’s call it the saga of store brand yogurt.
It comes down to one’s economic status. A new Rambler/AMC, or Studebaker, or a Triumph Herald (they looked very nice), would have been a dream car to me as I started college in 1962 as a commuting student and had to carefully navigate the trials of owning an aging, rusty, leaky (water from the sky and oil from the engine) big ’53 Chrysler.
My favorite alternatives were recent model Studebaker Larks with their VI and VIII engine call outs and working convertible tops (long story). Indeed, I looked at my friend’s new yellow Lark VI convertible with envy.
It’s the money, and what one thinks they need – or – deserve.
Off-brand yogurt may be tasty, but some only want the name brands.
As for spoiled kids, I asked a co-worker in the late 1980s about moving from Manhattan NY to Basking Ridge NJ (where he lived) and he said “it’s nice as long as it doesn’t bother you that the high school student parking lot is full of cars you’ll probably never be able to – or want to – afford.”
He was right. It is nice, and the student cars parked on Collyer Lane are mostly twin engine Teslas, 4-door Wranglers, BMW SUVs, Audi SUVs, Suburbans, a few Rovers, and such.
OK, also maybe a few 6 year old Optimas, Sonatas, Camrys, and Civics, but not many.
Oddly, no Mustangs, Chargers, or Corvettes.
I always look forward to your thought provoking essays.
Thank you so much. You have me thinking harder about what I actually have gone for in this era if I was looking for, and could afford, a car. You mentioned the Studebaker Lark. I’ve always had to be a bit different, for a myriad of reasons, I’m sure. Ramblers or a Stude might have also held some appeal for me.
Looking at the cars of some of college-aged, adult children of some of my peers, some of them drive vehicles way nicer than I would consider even at this stage of my life! That is, if I needed a car.
My high school ride was shared with my Mom…a turquoise blue & white 1957 Chevy 210 4-door sedan with 6 cylinder and 3-on-the-tree that used more oil than gas and was so rusty that one of the front fenders had to be replaced…with a black one! But nonetheless, I kept what was left of the paint shined up (and toted plenty of extra oil in the trunk) and drove it proudly – it was definitely better than riding the bus! I’m also a Kenosha, Wisconsin resident, so have always seen plenty of AMCs on the road including this generation of Americans…I always thought they were much better looking than their predecessors.
I admire those who possessed that kind of lack of self-consciousness earlier in life, where they weren’t as tied up (like me) in caring as much about what others thought of them or the cars they drove.
Some parents raise diva children and others do not. I consider it an accomplishment to be counted among the latter group. A kid who turns down the horribly not-uncool car like a Plymouth Turismo has undoubtedly been catered to for a long time by then, so Daddy probably was not surprised. I just feel sorry for the girl’s eventual husband and children.
OK, the Rambler. I always kinda-sorta liked these mid-late 60s Americans. But yes – these were HORRIBLY uncool during their first 10-15 years of life. To answer your question of the 1990s analog, I might argue for the Plymouth Acclaim (although it might have been comparatively in a larger size class).
I will go to my grave wondering who at AMC insisted on using those oddly sized/shaped/angled numbers on speedometers for so long.
JP, thank you for providing a direct response to my question at the end of this essay. So, these really were that uncool, huh? I have wondered what happened to the girl who wanted the Fiero. I can only hope she did an about-face at some point.
Not completely related, but a little bit: I give thanks from time to time for having had siblings to have to learn to share things, attention, and experiences with, even as our paths have all diverged further in adulthood.
OMG, my parents bought a nearly identical car in the summer of 1964, and Mom drove it for ten years. The only difference was that our car was a station wagon. Everything else (including the 330 trim level and the dog-dish hubcaps) was the same. That’s my childhood sitting there at the curb!
I really like that this example (which I haven’t seen in over a year) was able to provide you with that connection.
Excellent prose! And good points to boot! Yep, I like this car too!
Thank you so much.
Ah you take me back to high school where the hottest young ladies would be wearing that white with big green stripe Benetton rugby shirt while I had my Knights of the Round Table faux Polo polo shirt… 🙂
And a very memorable flight from Paris to San Francisco two plus decades ago now where the meal choices were purportedly Chicken or Lasagna and my wife wanted chicken. Alas, when the flight attendant with the meal cart reached our row they were all out of the chicken whereupon a very memorable conversation ensued in which my wife finally declared that fine, if she can’t have the chicken, then nothing. The FA verified that really, she’d like nothing at all and my wife doubled down on that by replying that yes, she will skip the meal entirely. As if to show the FA… I on the other hand found the lasagna delicious and couldn’t believe my wife decided to skip it altogether. Of course within ten minutes my wife was realizing what she did and eventually humbly got up and actually was able to locate a leftover chicken meal in the galley from a different cart. This is a story that lives on in Klein Family Legacy and gets brought up at every major family get-together “Oh, sorry, Allison, we are all out of the Chicken or Turkey or Crablegs or whatever it may be, would you like the Stouffer’s lasagna instead or just nothing?”. ( – I hasten to add that my wife is not usually like that, she’s much more of a go with the flow type of person…Although every time she does point out that she got her Chicken eventually 🙂 )
As far as the car goes, the Rambler American is a cool little car (now), better than a Falcon or maybe a base Valiant. And certainly better or at least more interesting than any Turismo or Fiero!
Jim, this is one of my favorite stories told in the comments for a long time. Haha!! Putting myself in your wife’s shoes, I have a pretty good idea what my face looks like with that sheepish expression I wear in situations like the one you described on the plane.
There is something noble about these mid/late ‘60s Rambler Americans. They didn’t try to be extremely stylish or trendy in the Mustang mode, but they tried to do as much as they could with what they had to work with, and on a budget (see also Studebaker). The first-gen Falcon always felt a bit downscale to me, is if “this is all you get, you pays your price and this is as far as we will go for you”. The Rambler, instead, really tried to please, as much as it could, under the circumstances. Perhaps it is my rooting for the underdog.
The car is also well-proportioned, and the four-door iteration doesn’t look like a styling afterthought, but instead is well integrated into the entirety of the design (the wagon is even better looking, IMO). That the front end treatment is a bit evocative of the Chrysler Turbine doesn’t hurt matters either.
It really is an attractive styling effort, completely devoid of any of AMC’s later idiosyncratic styling touches. And I say this as an AMC fan.
I do also see some Chrysler Turbine in the front, and I like it.
What I remember of driving one of these when it was about 6 years old was : the handling was turgid, non responsive and zero road feel .
It was a comfy car that moved acceptably in city traffic but wasn’t any fun to drive .
And yes, you had to have been there in the 1960’s to know how incredibly uncool Ramblers were .
I was someone who never got bought a car (we were a single parent family and not that well off), but can remember school colleagues dissing the rides they were gifted. One got given a brand new Porsche 924 and complained bitterly that it wasn’t the turbo variant(!).
That was a particularly crass example, remembering that insurance for any performance car was ruinous for a 17 year old and that the ‘rents were paying that too. But plenty of others complained about their parents’ choices, which went down particularly well with those of us that had to use public transport, or our pushbikes to get anywhere.
When I finally did buy my first car for 80 pounds (about $120 then), it was a safety inspection failure that needed work to get street legal again. I therefore valued that vehicle, even though it was pretty shabby and learned to maintain and improve it because I couldn’t afford to pay anyone else. Used tires were the order of the day, but it served me for 6 years and I still have fond memories of it.
Not sure what we will do for our son when he reaches driving age – probably offer him the choice of something safe and low powered or nothing….
These are great illustrations – thank you for sharing them. There is something beautiful and tangible built into learning to make do with one’s circumstances, as you did with your first car and the work you learned to perform on it.
Thanks for connecting the two prominent headlights to the Matador coupe; I’ve never made that consciously before, although it’s all-too obvious. This ’64 American was Dick Teague’s first car at AMC, essentially a variation of the somewhat larger ’63 Classic/Ambassador that his predecessor Ed Anderson was responsible for. The middle section was largely locked in as it was shared with the Classic/Amby, but the front and rear ends were Teague’s.
Paul, I remember having read somewhere, years ago, some article that connected the dots between the ’64 American and the ’74 Matador, and that has stayed with me ever since. Like you mention, it’s not something that was immediately apparent to me, either, but I can’t unsee it
Would that car have the 196 flathead 6 as the base engine?
I imagine it does. The “for sale” sign didn’t indicate which iteration of the 196 was under the hood.
The sign also calls it a Classic, not an American.
This isn’t an $8,000.00 car period .
These were good cars but having driven them I’d have preferred almost anything else .
I had to buy my own damned first car and pops attacked it and broke the window .
Those who don’t like free transportation tough titties .
Yeah, the “8k” , number stopped my breath for a hot moment there.
The condition is why I said not worth that much .
I ride the bus and the L train, all public transit – no car for going on two decades! If a parent had broken something on my car intentionally and violently, that probably would been it for given them any future rides in it.
I understand and if I still lived in a big North Eastern city where the public transport was reliable I’d still use it, filth and crime who cares .
As far as being whupped, yes it -can- be a very good thing indeed and I’m sure I needed it .
On the other hand, when an unhappy parent endlessly makes up wild conspiracies and stories to create an excuse to beat their child like a rented mule, then it’s time to step back and look in the mirror and be glad said child who’s a firearms instructor isn’t a wacko with an AR15 like today .
Balance in all things .
Yeah, it’s no fun having an abusive parent.
The big problem with these is that by 1964, compacts were “out”, having been stung by the new intermediates by Ford and GM. And of course in April 1964, the Mustang appeared.
The other reason they were so exceptionally uncool was because its predecessor was so dumpy and out of date. The American’s image was fully depreciated. No wonder its name was retired for the Hornet.
And its standard flathead six only exacerbated that image problem.
I was actually a little bit shocked to see what the ’63 American looked like when I linked piece on one to this essay. I mean, in my mind’s eye, I could kind of remember, but still.
In terms of brand image, though, let’s look at the Hyundai Sonata. The early ones were fully unremarkable. Around ten years ago, I thought the 2013 (or so) models were almost stunning. I’m on the fence about the looks of the new ones, but I guess my point is that there can be redemption for a model name once tied to a car that was unattractive.
“The girl’s father told me, sounding almost rueful, that the Plymouth wasn’t sporty enough for her. I could imagine what she looked like, with her permed and teased-out hair, wearing her preppy cardigan from The Limited, and snapping her gum like she couldn’t be bothered with that… thing in the driveway her father had brought home. (Like, what’s a “Plymouth”, anyway?)”
I could picture that, and chuckle in so doing. I would chuckle/guffaw and like to be a fly on the wall if this Rambler were offered to the same girl.
I wonder though if enough time has elapsed where this car would have some classic cache’ among a similar generation today. Then again, maybe not.
This comment made me laugh when I had read it earlier – thank you for the visual!
The beginning of this article reminded me of something a friend in England told me 30 years ago:
A little girl is walking down the sidewalk on her way home from school. A new car pulls along side her, and the older man driving asks the little girl if she would like a ride.
Without changing her stride or looking at the man, she simply says NO and continues walking.
The man tries again, pulling along side the little girl as he says: “I’ve got candy!” This time she ignores him and keeps on walking.
So he tries again, this time saying “I’ve got a nice new dolly for you!”
The little girl stops, turns to the man and says:
“Daddy, I told you if you bought a new Austin Allegro I wouldn’t ride in it!”
Hahaha! Was the Allegro really that bad-looking? I mean, I know what they look like, but could it be considered the “AMC Pacer” of the UK? I’ve already gone on record as saying I like the looks of the Pacer, and I don’t find the Allegro, even with it’s little chipmunk face, really that objectionable looking.
I had 3 Allegros when I lived in the UK, and I always liked them and thought they seemed anthropomorphically cute. They all had personalities, and were very lovable cuddly and actually quite good cars and really fun to drive- like a more comfortable Mini.
But their reputation, quite unfairly, was trash when new, and they were considered horribly unfashionable all the way until the mid-2010s when they were almost all gone and were all of a sudden cool again. Quite like the Pacer, really.
Having ungrateful children can be painful, but that’s what happens if you spoil your children their entire life. Unfortunately, as your children get older, peer influence can have a greater effect on your kids than family values. I don’t blame a kid for preferring one thing over another, but most kids are smart enough to appreciate any car provided.
No, my folks never bought a car for me, but I got to drive one of my Dad’s cars whenever I wanted too. I bought myself a motorcycle instead.
Having said what I have in my essays about my family of origin, I’ll still stand by my assertion today that I’m glad I was whupped when I needed to be. The end result is still way better than me having turned out to be a jerk.
I drove one of these as a company car when my ’64 Falcon would die, which it did frequently. This vehicle has nice vision, good seat height and is comfortable. If you want tp pick up chicks, this car will not do it. Great driver for everyday use.
It sounds like American Motors understood the assignment.
This is an attractive car to my eye (and was back in the day as well). IMO, the ’63 Classic/Ambassador and ’64 American were peak Rambler in the 60s — without the pressure of annual facelifts, they should have remained largely unchanged until the Hornet was introduced.
And yes, Ramblers of that era were very uncool. In my town, GM was the top dog, followed by Ford, then Mopar, with AMC dead last. Imports other than the VW Beetle and the lower priced British sports cars were seldom seen.
But there’s always a flip side to the story. I’ve mentioned before how totally surprised I was when my paternal grandfather stopped to pick me up when I was walking home from school for lunch in the fall of 1963. He was driving a brand new American 440 2-door hardtop (don’t remember if it was the H variant with the range-topping engine)!
His prior car, the only one I had known from before, was a black 1950 Chevy 4-door sedan, so this was quite a change. BTW, he was the only one of my 4 grandparents who learned to drive.
This reminds me of a 1965 American I looked at back home in about 2006. It was a base 220 model 2 door sedan in refrigerator white. Same deal… a fairly well kept lower mileage car that was for sale. Definitely had the flathead, which felt like the only leftover that was getting a bit stale in an otherwise compelling package. The 1961-63 American looked kinda dorky, but they make me smile now. 1964-65 are dead contemporary in styling. I was born in the late 1970’s, so I’m also not privy to any social stigma attached to Rambler/AMC. I actually viewed them as being quite comparable to the Big 3 on many levels, with styling that was a bit more edgy at times. We also had a lot of Eagles in my hometown, which seemed to be held in higher esteem. There were quite a few Ramblers still kicking around too, on into the 1990’s. We also didn’t start salting roads (mostly magnesium chloride, actually) until 2002, so this may have contributed to their longevity.
I’ve never loved Ford Tempos much, as well as the early Escorts with their knock-kneed suspension that kept swapping positive to negative camber from front to rear as the driver shifted gears. A K-car might be a nice Reliant automobile, but they weren’t my really my thing, either. I’m pretty fine with GM J-cars, though. But if push came to shove, I wouldn’t be throwing a tantrum if any of the above landed in my parking spot.
Oh, but I was rather in love with the Fiero as a kid. I always looked out for the 2M6, as the majority were the farty 4 cylinder 2M4. At least the 2.8 V6 *sounded* like an eager performer!